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Jandy Nelson’s , The Sky Is Everywhere, is all about Music-which heals the heart

                                                                  The Sky Is Everywhere

                                                                                           ~Jandy Nelson

What can we do when the worst thing that can happen, actually happens? Can’t really dig a deep pit and stay there forever. Right? We have to come out of the shell, faking a smile to make everyone believe that we are okay.

A grief-stricken girl, Lennie Walker, scattering her poems all over the town so that no one could know what she’s going through. She wrote on paper cups, tissue napkins, candy wrappers, walls of her classroom, small chits and what not. She wrote on anything she could find and never took her written emotions to her home. She just threw them there. She never took them to her room where the memories of her late sister lingers around. Those memories don’t deserve to be tainted by her vulnerablities and sorrows.

Losing a sister is literally like losing a part of yourself. Everyone gave her their sympathies but no one really understood her emotions. She always considered herself to be the shadow of her sister Bailey. She wanted so badly to communicate with her sister, who was no longer there that she just began writing her words on everything and anything she could, scattering her thoughts and memories to the winds hoping that her sister could read them from heaven. It killed her every day to even think that she has a future but her sister doesn’t. That now she don’t have Bailey to share everything that goes on in her life. She felt incomplete.

But she found her Clarinet to understand her more than anyone. She found peace while playing it. She found her escape in it. She believed that her sister was listening her. She wanted her sister to know how much she misses her and how much she needs her. She believed that the music is the only thing that can connect her to her sister.  ‘Can she live her life without her sister?’ Yes. ‘Does she want to?’ No. ‘But, will she live her life?’ Yes, for the sake of her sister.

She made mistakes which filled her with regret and guilt. Those mistakes made her drown in her own darkness. And when she loses every possible aspect to be happy and feel positive, there enters – Joe Fontaine with his trumpet and guitar. Again this sounds typical. Right? Well, it’s not. Lennie wasn’t prepared for this bubbly and charming guy. The more he wanted to come closer, the more she pushed him away because she knew that a guy like him, don’t deserve the darkness in which she was drowning. But all he wanted was to match his trumpet and guitar with her clarinet, to give her the serenity she deserves, to let her know that she is not alone. She decided to let him in her life and developed a certain bond with him. She felt happy with him. She never felt the pain of losing her sister, whenever she was with him. He made her believe that living her life without Bailey is not a crime. In fact, Bailey would be proud of Lennie. Lennie’s clarinet and Joe’s guitar made the most beautiful melody which even nature was very proud of. She felt alive with him.

But her one mistake, proved to be fatal for her bond with Joe. Her one mistake, just one mistake, took everything from her including Joe. No words could justify Lennie’s intimate moment with her dead sister’s fiance Toby. Just when she came down crashing from the moment of few seconds, everything was already destroyed within those few seconds. Joe witnessed that moment between Toby and Lennie. No one knew what to say, what to believe, what was real and what was fake. Once the trust is broken, the bond can never be the same again. But Lennie won’t let her absurd mistake snatch away the only good thing left in her life. She wanted to fight for it, fight for the bond she shared with Joe, fight for the happiness they both deserved. And she would do everything to keep Joe in her life, the only person with whom she felt at ease. But no matter how much efforts Lennie put, Joe was not able forgive her. Feeling defeated, she decided to let Joe know about her feelings for one last time. She went to their secret spot, where she got to know that Joe came there everyday even when he was mad at her. She decided to write. Every feeling she feels for him, her guilt, her regret and about how much he means to her. She left her writing there hoping Joe would read it. Next day, feeling nervous, she went to their spot, finding her letter was missing. Just when she was about to give up, Joe came and revealed the most shocking thing that Lennie never imagined.

While Lennie was busy scattering the bits and pieces of her poems, thoughts and memories of her sister all over the town, someone was busy collecting all those candy wrappers, tissue napkins, paper cups etc. And that someone was Joe Fontaine. Joe was there for Lennie even before he actually entered in her life. Whatever Lennie was going through, Joe knew, and that’s what helped him to understand her better.

It’s not a fairytale of Lennie where there’s a happily ever after. It’s a tale of how Grief and Love are conjoined. Lennie’s grief will always be with her- grief of not being able to share these precious moments with her sister. Grief is always going to be a measure of love. Bailey is always going to be Lennie’s sky, no matter where she goes.

Jandy Nelson’s , The Sky Is Everywhere, is all about Music-which heals the heart, Nature- which brings peace to our mind, Death- the inevitable painful truth of life and Love- which gives us reason to be happy again, to try again in life.


Review by   -Sanskarika Raj




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